Nickelodeon boasted a handful of interesting shows, but one show in particular was very different. El Tigre was a refreshing change of pace for the network since it was one of their most diverse animated shows on television at the time. While there was alot of humor and light moments, the show dealt with interesting themes about good and evil and how the main character was swimming in the grey area while occasionally doing the wrong thing and then turning around to do the right thing. The show also has the potential to make a great cartoon-to-film adaptation since it could add to the growing superhero genre without exhausting it. Below are a list reasons why this could work.
Here's the plot synopsis for the show:
Thirteen-year-old Mexican superhero Manny Rivera has powers as the masked warrior El Tigre and some bizarre enemies. Manny is from a family of superpowered ancestors, his own superhero father and villain grandfather. His best friend Frida is very protective, but she can also get him into trouble. He wants to be good, but being bad is a much more exciting adventure!
Relatable main character:
Manny Rivera is a great depiction of how a kid might act if they possessed special abilities. Manny can be very selfish, self-centered, and even shallow. He is constantly getting into trouble which puts him at odds with his dad White Pantera who wants Manny to make better life choices so that he can grow as a person and as a hero. Manny wants to do the right thing but he finds it easier to do the opposite and act on his own desires and wishes. Family is also a big part of Manny's life since he always tries to look out for them and spend as much time with them as possible when he isn't at school or hanging out with Frida. Given his unique traits as a character and the potential for interesting storytelling possibilities,Manny would make for a very compelling yet flawed character who is struggling to determine his identity and create his own legacy.
Lack of latino superheroes in film:
There is a very real shortage of Hispanic and latino superheroes in Main stream film and we have yet to see the issue fully addressed. While latinos have been gaining some ground in tv and film, we haven't seen many of them in the title role as a hero or as the main protagonist. Whenever anyone talks about Latino superhero films "Zorro" is usually the first name that comes to mind. We have seen Marvel step it up with latino characters when they introduced Louis in the Ant-man movie and DC is bringing in El Diablo as a member of the Suicide Squad in their upcoming film. El Tigre would make a great addition to the growing number of Latinos in mainstream movies and superhero blockbusters.
El Tigre deals with many themes about good and evil and how Manny is caught between both. This is a very relatable message that could translate well to film since it has universal significance. Each film would could deal with him trying to do good while constantly being tempted to act on his own self-interests. The characters in the show are also a huge part of this message such as Manny's grandfather who is a super-villain and usually has a huge influence on him. Manny usually seeks his grandfather's advice since he is more loose about telling Manny what he wants to hear or by giving him short-cuts.
While cartoon-to-film adaptations don't have the best track record it's best to keep trying to see if the curse can be lifted. Even now, as you read this, there are other cartoons being eyed for big screen adaptations and even more that are stuck in development hell. El Tigre would be great for the superhero genre since it puts emphasis on Family, Social/cultural Identity, and the struggle of good and evil. Hollywood should definitely take this into consideration since it would satisfy the continual need for diversity in film as well as offer a new take on the superhero genre.